Tikka twist question


March 15, 2013, 01:43 AM
So, I am looking to purchase a bolt rifle in .223 and since I'm very satisfied with a previous Tikka purchase, I am focusing on their models.
But I'm curious about choosing between two configurations that they offer. They have two .223 models. Both with barrels just shy of 23" but one with a 1:12 twist and one with a 1:8 twist. My experience, limited as it is, with AR-style rifles chambered in .223/5.56 is that the barrel twist configurations typically range from 1:7 to 1:9 with a few exceptions for unusual bullet weights.
But 1:12 is rarely such an option yet here it is in a bolt rifle. What am I missing here?
Thanks in advance,

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March 15, 2013, 02:20 AM
According to Shilen Barrels, a 1:8 will stabilize a .224 bullet up to 70 gr., a 1:12 up to 63 gr. The only downsides to a faster than needed twist is possibly higher pressures and/or lower velocity for a given load. And an overstabilized bullet will tend to remain horizontal rather than curve with the trajectory. And more prone to blow ups with a light, thin jacketed bullet if shot very fast. My bolt gun is 1:12 and I never shoot anything over 60 gr. and accuracy has been mostly stellar. AR's are designed for the heavier military bullets these days, as well as long heavy bullets in the long range match kind of thing as far as I know.

March 15, 2013, 03:19 AM
The original twist of the .223 Remington was actually 1 in 14" and the first M-16s (actually AR-15s) were made with that barrel twist until it was discovered that the 55 grain M-193 bullet (a boattail with a fairly long ogive for the time) was not adequately stabilized at very cold temperatures. For this reason, the twist rate on the M-16 was increased to 1 in 12".

This worked well until the 5.56 was adopted by NATO with a Belgian designed 62 grain bullet with a partial steel core known as the SS109 (M855 in US parlance). Due to its length, this bullet was found to perform best with a 1 in 9" twist, coincidentally the tracer round adopted at the same time needed a 1 in 7" twist for optimum performance, so that's what was adopted for the M16A2.

When people started having true match grade barrels made for this quick twist (and Sierra started making heavy, accurate, high BC bullets), it quickly became apparent that a properly put together "Mickey Mattel" was an excellent long range match rig and it pretty well ran the M14 and 7.62x51 off of the 1000 yard firing line (at least until late 2001 when American troops started to encounter targets that shot back and were so lacking in sportsmanship that they hid behind things when shot at).

It's getting late, so I'll cut to the chase. If your intent is to use the weapon as a traditional .223 varmint rifle, IE: with highly frangible bullets of 55 grains or less that are effective on game up to coyote size out to maybe 350 yards if the wind isn't too bad, get the 1/12" barrel.

If you'd like to use the weapon for hogs and small to middlin' deer as well as some long range target work, get the faster twist rate barrel. The quick twist barrel can shoot most of the same bullets as its slower twist brethren with the possible exception of light, thin jacketed "Super Explosive" types (which can be very useful if you want to avoid ricochets). The only other downside is a possible decrease in accuracy with the lighter bullets as compared to a slower twist barrel. My experience has been that this difference is less noticeable with higher quality, more accurate bullets.

The 12" twist barrel isn't likely to be as versatile as the 8" twist. They are generally hopeless with any high BC bullet of more than 60 to 65 grains, but most of them will do pretty well with the Speer 70 grain semi spitzer, a bullet that has given me very good results on hogs larger than what should really be shot with a .22 caliber rifle.

If you'll be using the rifle mainly on varmints or very close range medium game, the 1/12" has some definite advantages. I love the Speer SX varmint bullets for truly spectacular "meat shower" performance on P'dogs and other small varmints combined with virtually zero ricochet.

The 1/8" twist will give you a bit more versatility and extend your range considerably over the slower twist, especially in windy conditions, it'll make a far superior long range target rifle.

Sorry if I've waffled a bit in this post, but I like 'em both.

You pays yer money and takes yer choice...

March 15, 2013, 08:08 AM
Most 223 bolt guns were made with a 1:12" twist (befitting a varmint gun shooting 45gr-55gr bullets) until the last half-dozen years or so, when ARs and heavier bullets became popular.

Last I checked, Remingtons, Kimbers, Howa/Weatherby, and others still make 223 1:12" bolt guns only. Tikka offers you two choices, while Ruger and Savage split the options and make a 1:9" gun.

March 15, 2013, 08:37 AM
Tikka makes the 223 in 1:8 & 1:12 but I found that the 1:12 is not imported into the USA. So I bought a 1:8 stainless Tikka but could not get the accuracy I needed with the 55gr for ground hogs. I begged and pleated with Sako/ Tikka to get me a 223 rifle with a 1:12 twist but they could not make it happen so I sold the Tikka 1:8 and purchased a Weatherby Mark V Super Preadator Master 223 in 1:12 twist. This was a year ago.:banghead:

March 15, 2013, 10:44 AM
I have the 1-8 twist,, I shoot all weights,, 45 and up..I have the stainless,It did take about 300 rounds down the tube untill I got it broke in,The heaviest weight I shoot so far was 62 gr. when the hording lets up. I like to try the 80 grain or about, to see how they work,,

March 15, 2013, 10:48 AM
I bought a used (like new) Tikka M595 in .223 and it's 1-12.

March 15, 2013, 12:21 PM
With the 1in 12" twist, it is not possible to stabilize much over 60gr or so, and that's fine if you're happy with varmint weight bullets. But a 1in8" twist is more versatile all around as a rule, because over-stabilizing a light bullet usually doesn't have a negative affect on accuracy, and like any rifle, sometimes you just have to search for the right bullet and load. Only light, highly frangible bullets can be pushed to rotational speeds to fragment in fast twists, but that is usually not an issue with the 223, but has been a problem with 22-250 velocities.

As Swampman noted, "You pays yer money and takes yer choice".


March 15, 2013, 10:53 PM
Hugely valuable and informative. It seems like for the sake of the wider range of use, and to be able to share more ammunition with my AR, the 1:8 sounds like a better choice.
But this note is really excellent.
Thanks again,

April 1, 2013, 04:58 PM
I have experience with a Tikka 1:8" .223 that shoots bulk 55 gr. JSP bullet reloads practically into the same hole.

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